The word democracy is bandied about with abandon in Italy – but these elections are probably the least democratic ever held. Only Beppe Grillo is actually doing the hustings thing. All the others think that answering 5 questions on twitter from primary school children fulfills their obligations. They spend hours in radio and tv studios answering preprepared questions that ask no questions. Instead we have the usual litany of promises – that are now all the same. From the ultra right to the hard left we are promised – in no particular order – no patrimonial tax (ie hitting the rich), changeing IMU (reducing council tax) tax breaks on giving work to young people, and reform of the constitution. All the high and grand ideas of changing the political system, halving the number of MPs, halving the costs of politics etc have quietly disappeared. Beppe Grillo has shot himself more in the face than the foot announcing that he will ban the unions which will have alienated about 95% of his voters. Berlo slags of Monti telling us he has more powers than under the fascists – (meaning what exactly?) and that Ingroia is a communist. Bersani (PD) takes the high ground and loses votes because he is the Michael Foot of Italian politics and Monti makes some good points in the language of university philosophy lecturer which is hardly a soundbite and takes a good half day with a conjugating dictionary to work out what he says.
In most parts of Italy they do still not know who they are to vote for, the candidate list is being parachuted in from above and with the way the system works here your local MP may only be the (lets say) 4th most voted person in the region, so wont go to parliament even though he won a hands down victory. Insteead you will have a convicted criminal, fraudulent bankrupt, thief or murderer as your MP. All the parties are having a lovely time playing this game, fixing things for their friends to be safely brought into government. And if that werent enough the ‘sill’ of getting into parliament is 5% so all the small parties have to make strange and questinable alliances with bigger parties in order to be represented in parliament. The whole system reeks of being organised in smokey rooms by ‘the people who know’ .
its getting very messy